First Edition of an Early Work on Vegetarianism
NICHOLSON, George. On the Conduct of Man to Inferior Animals, &c. [Within] The Literary Miscellany. Manchester: George Nicholson , 1797.
[Together with]

[FRANKLIN, Benjamin]. Preceptive, moral and sentimental pieces. Prose. On Education, by Pratt. On Gymnastics, by Madame de Sillery. On a new Mode of Bathing; on Swimming; on Sleeping; by Dr. Franklin, &c. Printed and sold at the office of G. Nicholson; Manchester, 1797.


[Anonymous]. On Clothing. Printed and sold at the office of G. Nicholson; Manchester, 1797.

First Edition of On the Conduct of Man. All titles bound together in one sixteenmo volume of The Literary Miscellany. (5 x 3 1/6 inches; 126 x 77 mm). [2], 8, 26; 48; 134, [1, contents], [1, blank] pp. With separate title-pages for each section. Each title-page with an engraved vignette.

Contemporary quarter calf over marbled boards. Spine with red morocco spine label, lettered in gilt. Boards a bit rubbed, and corners bumped. About six leaves at the beginning with some minor foxing, otherwise very clean. Previous owner's nameplate on front pastedown. Overall a very good copy.

On the Conduct of Man to Inferior Animals is an early work on vegetarianism by author and printer George Nicholson. "By 1784 George and a brother had set up [a printing business] independently, producing mainly chapbooks and popular penny cards, but some time before 1797, having moved to Manchester, he was printing books to a high standard, educational or didactic titles of some range and importance. (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography).

"Nicholson was a vegetarian. He authored The Conduct of Man to Inferior Animals in 1797, which was expanded into The Primeval Diet of Man: Arguments in Favour of Vegetable Food: On Man's Conduct to Animals, in 1801. Nicholson's book cited Porphyry, Plutarch, Erasmus Darwin, John Arbuthnot and many others. A supplement, On Food was added to the 1803 edition, offering vegetarian recipes. Nicholson's argument for vegetarianism consisted of five components. He argued that the earliest humans ate a vegetarian diet, and we should mimic this diet as a healthier and moral way of life. He argued that human conduct towards animals is frequently unjust and if we recognize how similar we are to other species we will treat them with more respect. He also urged for education and legislative protection for animals." (Wikipedia).

Also of note in this volume is an early edition of Benjamin Franklin's essay "On the Art of Swimming," in which he discusses his invention of the swim fin. "An avid swimmer, Franklin was just 11 years old when he invented swimming fins- two oval pieces of wood that, when grasped in the hands, provided extra thrust through the water. He also tried out fins for his for his feet, but they weren't as effective. He wrote about his childhood invention in an essay titled "On the Art of Swimming": "When I was a boy, I made two oval [palettes] each about 10 inches long and six broad, with a hole for the thumb in order to retain it fast in the palm of my hand. They much resembled a painter's [palettes]. In swimming, I pushed the edges of these forward and I struck the water with their flat surfaces as I drew them back. I remember I swam faster by means of these [palettes], but they fatigued my wrists. (The Franklin Institute).

Franklin writing on swimming generally extracted from a letter written to Oliver Neave. This letter was included in his "Experiments and Observations on Electricity" (Fourth edition, London, 1769) and then the letter was subsequently reprinted many times as a treatise on swimming. "Nothing is known about the recipient, except that in 1762 Franklin acknowledged a paper from him on the transmission of sound. The present letter was either written at about the same time, or appeared out of chronological order in Experiments and Observations; for it is there sandwiched between letters from Franklin to Polly Stevenson in 1760-62. All that can be said for certain, however, is that it was written well before January, 1769, when the edition of Franklin's work that first included it went on sale." (Founders Online).

The present essay verbatim also appears in "The Works of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin Consisting of his Life Written by Himself : together with Essays humorous, moral, & literary, chiefly in the manner of the Spectator."New York: Printed by Tiebout & Obrian for H. Gain,...and Edward Mitchell no. 9, Maiden Lane., [1794]

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